|Siddharth Patil, Broad Street in Newark, NJ, CC0 1.0|
By Bradford Mason
As New Jersey begins opening back up, Newark Mayor Ras Baraka outlines plans for a phased reopening of his city that is slated to start in June.
“Phase One is about us getting prepared to open. We’re advancing, but it also gives us room to retreat if the numbers go back up,” Baraka said. “Our top priority is the health and safety of our residents.”
Baraka said his decision is based on data that shows a continued decline in COVID-19 cases and from the recommendations of the “Newark Reopening and Recovery Strikeforce.” The data collected shows while Newark has increased testing 100 percent, the percentage of people who have tested positive has dropped dramatically, as well as reported cases and deaths.
- Recreation centers, parks and playgrounds will remain closed; block parties and special events will remain on hold. All faith-based services can be held via teleconference or virtually.
- Information centers will be established in each ward and 4311 will be expanded to include a dedicated COVID-19 information hotline. Additionally, a technology task force will be created to develop a sustainable citywide strategy for universal access to Wi-Fi and the hardware necessary for remote learning.
- An isolation and quarantine plan will be developed for those who cannot create one themselves. Guidance will be provided around emotional hurdles and fears related to medical mistrust.
- Lastly, letters will be sent to all businesses requesting plans to ensure the safety of their employees and the general public. City licensing, approvals and permitting processes will be adjusted to streamline what can be expedited and waived.